Beta Blocks

2018 - 2021

Abstract blobs in gradients of pink, red, and purple

Beta Blocks is a scalable, flexible and re-usable process for engaging city residents on issues of urban technology and data.  Through a playful traveling exhibit, it generated city-wide conversation about “smart city” tech, and brought community groups front and center in making decisions about how and why to install new technologies in the city. 

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About the Project

A number of people gathered around a purple inflatable at the base of stairs

Problem Space

Smart cities are already here, in forms that include urban sensors, responsive architecture and data-driven decision making. There is now a unique opportunity to ensure that as Boston embarks on its own smart city evolution, its local communities have a seat at the table from the very beginning. By establishing a framework that allows them to effectively collaborate with the technology sector and city government, Beta Blocks will ensure that a smart Boston works for everyone.

Proposed Intervention

Beta Blocks is a scalable, flexible and re-usable platform for engaging city residents on issues of urban technology and data. With municipal support we were able to set up 4 Exploration Zones, where smart technologies could be temporarily installed for the purpose of public questioning and reflection.

Social Impact

The Beta Blocks report documents the process of implementing a community-centered smart city process in Boston, including results and recommendations for organizations wishing to replicate the process in the future.

Collaborators

Logo image for Mayor's Office of New Urban MechanicsLogo image for Supernormal

Project Contact

For inquiries about this project, please contact eric_gordon@emerson.edu.